Feels Alright: Get to know The Nude Party
Far away from their farm in upstate New York, we are sitting with three out of six members of The Nude Party upstairs in a small Brighton pub escaping the manic sweat of the the Great Escape Festival. Unfortunately we aren’t nude, but we do have cold pints in front of us and we get chatting about The Nude Party’s return to the UK after their successful run at the end of last year. Shaun, Austin and Connor are ecstatic to be in the seaside town for a few shows before completing a long UK and EU run.
Welcome back to the UK. You guys have been doing some pretty intense tours globally, how’s life on the road been treating you?
Austin: So far, fantastic!
Connor: It’s only day one here so it’s hard to say, but it’s all been great.
Shaun: I almost missed the plane on the way here… I was literally running to the gate. I got searched really hard, both of my bags and they took my toothpaste.
Austin: Yeah we had to convince them to wait 15 minutes from him.
So you’re happy to be back?
Where has been a really memorable place for you guys in the past few years?
Austin: Brighton is up there. We were here last year and I had a really good time.
Connor: Yeah, this older man, kinda looks like Santa Claus, was naked on stage humping a trash can.
Yeah, I know the guy.
Austin: He was screaming at the pedals! It was kinda entertaining.
Shaun: He’s very dramatic too, I spent an hour drinking a beer with him and the way he was speaking was kind of Shakespearean, he was speaking in poems.
Connor: The Acid Box promoters were saying the kind of have to calm him down sometimes, but he’s kind of a mascot for any sort of psychedelic or garage thing in Brighton cause he shows up to everything and has a great time.
Shaun: He’s a good guy to have around!
So is that the most memorable moment for you guys?
Shaun: Uh… Connor peed out the window of our bus a while ago.
Connor: That’s not that memorable…
Austin: Connor’s peed out of a lot of stuff.
Shaun: Well in the States we tour in this airport shuttle bus, and there are these tiny little windows that slide open, and we couldn’t stop cause there was a rain stop and what not, so Connor peed out the window, and there’s a photo somewhere.
Austin: Well I was saying before we started that the last time we played in London when we first met you, there was an incident that involved a Peroni beer heist and the band Creatures. The Italian Job. A number of beers disappeared post show and the situation had to be rectified where the promoters were pretty angry, and at this point William from Creatures, who’s a fantastic handsome guy, kind of a circus leader of sorts, was taking a beer from the fridge, cracking it open in his mouth and pouring it on his head. I thought that was pretty memorable.
Shaun: Deep fried pizza here is good.
Connor: You don’t like deep fried pizza.
Shaun: But I like that it exists.
That’d have to be Glasgow.
Austin: Yeah, it was. Buckfast is fantastic as well.
Connor: My favourite thing is definitely Buckfast.
So, back on track, your debut record is fantastic. It’s got a ton of different influences, from pop to blues and country, a load of stuff crammed in, however the final product is a distinct Nude Party sound. Tell us a bit about your writing and where it all comes from.
Connor: The six of us all live together, and it’s kind of a melting point of everyone listening to things. We all have a mutual core love for certain music and then everyone strays in different ways. So we all bring in something unique to what we play. We wrote it over five years, some of those songs we’ve been playing live for so long and we finally sat down and recorded it in a proper studio. It was diverse, some of them are just one person brings an idea to the table and all of us fill in the blanks.
Shaun: I think a big part of our writing is just all of us being in a room, just playing together. That’s such an element of our band. There’s always been a live performance aspect to us, which is the same of us just being at home playing music with each other. We have never really broken down songwriting to science.
Connor: There’s a big idea that slowly gets carved into a final product.
Yeah, I guess with so many of you each song goes through different minds and ideas till that final Nude Party song is made.
Connor: I think that’s probably why it took so long to make the record.
Shaun: I kind of like to think of our influences as a core group of people, people that are always gonna be there. I really love country music, outlaw stuff. A lot of the stuff I listen to on a daily basis isn’t really like us at all, I’ve been listening to Weyes Blood’s new record, Kevin Morby’s new one. But those core influences are the ones we can go back to.
So, you guys live together on a farm in upstate New York, right? How does that rural setting affect your writing?
Austin: We’ve always lived in rural places.
Shaun: It’s essentially the cheapest place we can live whilst making the most amount of noise.
Connor: I think us living together is one of the main things about our band, it’s like the juice of everything. We are a unit of humans that function and breathe as one, wether we want to or not. We are either touring together or living there together. I have wondered what influence that brings. I think if three of us lived in the City it’d be very different. I think it’d feel more like a job having to arrange practices and time together.
I guess that relates to the music you listen to as well. You’re together and have the same stuff playing and it’s easy to share and talk about music.
Shaun: The life that we live too when we live at home is very simple. During the day we are just working in our own house, being outside, working on music. It’s really how we spend most of our time.
Connor: During the winter there’s times when we just don’t leave. The entire house hold won’t be gone for a long amount of time, apart from one run to get food and booze once every three days ago. You come back and huddle around the food and booze. It’s a mission.
Shaun: And we’re also only two hours from New York City, most of our best friends live down there so if you want to get a dose of social life you can just drive down there.
Connor: Where we live is just now starting to become artistic and a community, but it is a little more isolated than other towns.
Do you guys have animals on the farm?
Connor: Oh yeah, one of our goats just gave birth yesterday.
Shaun: We have four goats, now we have four chickens, two ducks and currently we have nine rabbits. Both of our rabbits gave birth recently. There was like two rabbits two weeks ago.
Austin: And one cat! It’s called Potato.
Connor: We come back and there’s normally more, we are like absentee fathers.
Shaun: I do miss them, it’s a big part of my life.
So a lot of your music is pretty autobiographical, Chevrolet Van has this sorta “up yours” message to it. Do you find it easier to write like this than to come up with a concept?
Shaun: Well Chevrolet Van is about Patton’s brother who went off on a trip and his grandfather, who is pretty straight and conservative guy, sent him a later saying like, ‘you need to get your shit together, you can’t travel, you need to get married and get a job’ and that, and that was the inspiration behind that song.
Austin: It’s definitely something we all felt. We all met in college for the most part, and the end goal of college is usually a job and by the end of college I think all of us decided not to have a job. So between not having a job, wanting to do music and possible subscribing to a slightly more alternative way of life, yeah, I guess I can see that as being inspiration for lyrical content to be “up yours”-esque.
Shaun: We started touring very early, on our own, not really knowing what the fuck was gonna happen. We opened for karaoke in El Paso, Texas one time. We’d just tour cause we wanted to be on the road.
You’ve done some pretty huge tours, touring the states with Arctic Monkeys being one of them. How do those compare to say, the more intimate shows that you’ll be doing around the UK?
Austin: It’s so much easier to connect with people when it’s not so big. But playing to huge crowds and bands way bigger than us is incredible, it feels like a massive opportunity. A smaller show feels really good though, it feels better to see people dance in front of you than see people stand in front of you further back.
Connor: Especially when we first started playing, these intimate shows were way more fun for us because it was just sweaty with 30 people in the room. I think that’s a lot more true to our roots. But obviously if there’s room to expand your audience you can’t say no, and it’s still fun but it’s never the same feeling.
Well enjoy tonight, I think it’s gonna be a sweaty one.
Austin: Man, I’m sweating already.
by Nathan McLaren-Stewart and Caitlin Setterfield